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Big Quiz Show: Changing the gaming rules during pandemic

By Correspondent | March 30th 2021
Patrick Ojil, the executive director, The Big Quiz Show (TBQS)

The new normal where people have to reduce physical contact and utilise online channels more has inspired many ideas in a bid to keep businesses running. The entertainment and gaming industry has not been left behind. Patrick Ojil, the executive director, The Big Quiz Show (TBQS), which premiered on KTN on March 21, spoke to Financial Standard on why the show is a game-changer in the industry.

What is the thinking behind the design of this new gaming technology?

The show has been designed by Kenyans to suit the needs of Kenyans. It is the first-ever live TV gaming show in the country, allowing participants from all over Kenya to participate without the need to come on set. This innovation was inspired at the onset of Covid–19 due to the measures to contain the spread of the virus, such as the need to maintain social distancing, which meant we were unable to host a game show in the traditional format. We had to figure out a way to get people to participate from the comfort of their homes, and technology came in handy to provide the much-needed interactivity for a live game show; that is the game-changer. It took us a whole year to develop the tech. Kenya has one of the most knowledgeable and educated people in the world as shown by a report by Unesco’s 2018 literacy rate report. The Big Quiz Show provides the population with a chance to showcase their knowledge and get cash prizes. So because the games in the show are knowledge-based, it forges a spirit of learning and research among Kenyans paving way for a more informed nation.

How much investment have you put into TBQS and what return on investment do you see from it?

The show is set to be the biggest ever live gaming show in Africa. The continuous growth of the show will open more doors for Kenyans by simultaneously supporting the country’s tech innovators and entertainment sector. The show awards the winners with amazing cash prizes, which when channelled properly, can greatly improve Kenya’s economy. TBQS also stresses knowledge-based gaming, the impact of which is a more informed nation. Remember also, we are giving away Sh2 million every week and the regulator requires us to have that lump sum guaranteed in a kitty before even approving our licence. 

The gaming/betting industry has sometimes come under public scrutiny over regulation. What regulatory issues have you come across?

Most gaming shows have been attacked in the past as lottery systems based on chance and which are out to exploit the poor by providing an illusion that participation provides a chance to break out of poverty. Other issues such as tax evasion and not giving back to society continue to emerge. However, the Big Quiz Show is a knowledge-based innovation providing the participants with an opportunity to make an informed answer to specific questions, throwing the issue of chance out of the window. The show is compliant with all Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) requirements, including directing a significant portion of our proceeds to charitable causes.

What measures have you put in place to ensure transparency?

The Big Quiz Show developed a high-tech software enhanced with a programme designed to pick the fastest and the most accurate answers from our participants following the exact way they come in without any human interference.

Before the show, we did a couple of reruns and testing to ensure the software programme was working efficiently and effectively, and thus could be depended on. We will also publish results of the top 100 (contestants) in The Standard every Tuesday, indicating clearly how many points they scored and aggregate time taken to answer the 20 questions.

How do you see the future of the gaming industry in Kenya as more local inventions come into the market?

We believe that we have made a fantastic product, the first of its kind in Africa, which has a competitive advantage that can be packaged for export.

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